Reading Time: 3 minutes
Christmas tends to dominate the holiday music genre, but we at Piano Power love a good spooky song to set the tone for the season. Just hearing that eerie piano riff from John Carpenter’s Theme from Halloween can turn up the hairs on our arms, displaying the awesome, evocative power of music.
Halloween season is also a great time to get a little experimental with your instrument. Diminished chords, dissonance, and other strange or eerie sounds are excellent for conjuring up some musical creepiness!
Check out our teachers’ favorite scary songs, and a few more excellent sources from around the web. Enjoy!
Mike Frasier likes:
“This Is Halloween” from The Nightmare Before Christmas / Danny Elfman
“It’s the perfect Halloween mix of spooky and fun, and fans of the movie will instantly recognize the tune,” Mike said. “This one’s not for beginners, though— with complex chord progressions and key changes it doubles as a music theory lesson!”
Mallory Harding likes:
“De Boself” / Theodore Oesten
A spooky song about a gnome-like creature, this piece is relatively easy to play. Check out this link for a free download.
Nico Gutierrez likes:
“Prelude in C-Sharp Minor” / Sergei Rachmaninoff
“As I was learning [this song], I had a teacher explain the haunting legend that the piece was about a man being buried alive,” Nico said. Yikes!
“Night on Bald Mountain” / Mussorgsky
“This is especially spooky to me because I think about the scary monster from Fantasia,” Nico said. “It gave me nightmares as a kid!”
Henry Dickhoff likes:
“Thriller” / Rod Tempterton
Songwriter Rod Temperton wrote Thriller as a very “theatrical” song for Michael Jackson, who loved film. The video for thriller helped to make the album “Thriller” the best-selling of all time!
Ylva Bjerstedt Blom likes:
“Spooky Scary Skeletons” / Andrew Gold
Written by Andrew Gold, who also wrote “Thank You For Being a Friend” (which became the theme song for The Golden Girls), “Spooky Scary Skeletons” became a meme when paired with the 1929 Disney Short “Skeleton Dance” (featured below).
“Kids love to sing the end when they get to shout boo!,” Ylva said.Steven Hemmy likes:
“Day-0 (The Banana Boat Song)” / Harry Belafonte
“It’s a catchy little melody that’s pretty easy to transcribe for beginners,” Steven said.
Lucas Gillan likes:
“In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg
This iconic song, written for Henrik Ibsen’s 1867 play Peer Gynt, has been covered in several genres, from jazz to metal to K-Pop!
Adrienne Schroeder likes:
“Monster Mash” / Bobby Pickett
This innocent tune is always a classic, especially great for younger students.
Shelby Weight likes:
“Cruella De Vil” / Mel Leven
This signature song from 101 Dalmations is a fun and jazzy option. Plus there’s that cool Selena Gomez cover for extra inspiration, and it pairs well with a Cruella De Vil Halloween costume!
The theme song from The Munsters / Jack Marshall
This one’s *probably* a little before your student’s time, but still a great song!
You can’t mention The Munsters without including:
The theme song from The Addams Family / Vic Mizzy
…which always gets the fingers snapping!
Theme song from Scooby-Doo / William Hanna, Joseph Barbera, Hoyt Curtin
The gang from Scooby Doo is always catching ghosts, making this song a great choice for catching the Halloween spirit!
Dan Huber likes
“Ghostbusters” / Ray Parker Jr.
A go-to blast from the ’80 past, be careful not to slime the piano keys…
“The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme) from Star Wars / John Williams
An iconic example of a leitmotif, or a “recurrent theme associated with characters or events in a drama.” (Wikipedia)
Theme from Jaws / John Williams
Want to scare everyone out of the water? Learn this song and bring your keyboard to the beach.
“Werewolves of London” / LeRoy Marinell, Waddy Wachtel, Warren Zevon
Some listeners rated this song as having the best opening line in a song: “I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand.” Great lyric, but even better idea for a Halloween costume.
Andrew Doney likes:
The theme from Halloween / John Carpenter
Andrew was kind enough to share a PDF of a simple arrangement he wrote that is very popular among his students! Download here: Halloween Main Theme.
And just for (extra fun) Sarah Diller says:
My favorite Halloween song to play is (obviously) Monster Mash. But my favorite to listen to is the 30 Rock classic…
“Werewolf Bar Mitzvah”